ICCS’ new employability program, Project Rise, is currently running with its first cohort of six client participants. I sat down with each of the participants to ask them how they are doing, what drew them to Project Rise and what their hopes are for the future.
Lisa, smiling as we sit down, tells me about her love of carpentry and that she hopes to teach it one day. “That’s what drew me in, she says”. She hopes to go back to VIU for more training.
Next, I talk with Beau about what got him interested in Project Rise. Like many participants, he says that Stephen, (Project Rise coordinator), had a huge influence on his decision. “Stephen is very connected, he knows a lot of people”. The energetic program coordinator also has a wealth of information and knowledge and informs participants about resources and training programs available. Beau hopes to go to VIU to further his education.
Amanda, a well spoken woman who heard about Project Rise at the new Samaritan Place says that Stephen encouraged her to come for an interview. After meeting him and learning more about the employment program she got really excited and felt that it would be something she enjoys. She is looking forward to the training and moving towards her goal of working in horticulture or landscaping. “It’s where my heart is”, she says, “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. And it took me all these years to figure that out.” She adds” I want to find something that I really have a passion for. And I just know that I like anything that’s earthy. I love the smell of the soil and my hands in the dirt. It’s grounding, right?!”
Amanda grew up on a 25 acre farm in Whiskey Creek and describes how she grew up with the smell of hay in the summertime. “I still love the smell”, she adds. She is looking forward to working on garden boxes for Project Rise, filling them with soil and growing flowers and vegetables in them.
Linda, a vibrant and energetic lady of 70 years, is the next participant I interview. Asked about what drew her to Project Rise she says: “I have to make a commitment. I wanted to enter the program, at my age, ’cause it would give me a name, and a purpose and something to do and concentrate on.” She hopes to find meaningful work and keep busy long after having graduated from the program.
Lastly, I chat with Don about what drew him to Project Rise and what got him interested in joining. He replies that “Island Crisis Care Society is just an excellent organization and that’s what got me into it.”
Asked what his hopes for the future are and what he hopes to do after graduation he says “a good, sustainable, steady job. I have only got four years to retirement and yeah, just something consistent.” Don is a journeyman and locksmith who built block homes for 35 years.
He adds:” The last three log homes I did were all over 10000 square feet. Now my body is not capable of doing that full time. It’s my love. It’s what I do to go to work, smile on my face, have a great time and make money all in the same motion. So I’d like to get back into it eventually, just in small dosages.”
My last question regarding what he has been enjoying most about Project Rise so far he says: ”It’s a social thing as well. It’s expanding my horizon.”
I am excited to witness the great things the participants will do in the coming weeks of the program.